Postgame Buzz: San Francisco 49ers lose 14-9 to the Chicago Bears
Marquise Goodwin’s last play of the season came in the loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, when he sprawled out of bounds for quarterback Nick Mullens’ fourth-down incompletion that ended the 49ers’ late comeback attempt.
The speedy receiver has been dealing with a calf contusion since and was officially ruled out for Sunday’s season finale against the Los Angeles Rams after not practicing this week.
That means he’ll finish the season with just 23 catches for 395 yards, down significantly from his 56-reception, 962-yard campaign in 2017. And the 49ers will be without their top three receivers, as rookie second-round pick Dante Pettis was ruled out Monday after suffering a knee injury. Pierre Garçon has been on injured reserve since Week 14.
It also means the 49ers don’t have a clear-cut “X” receiver, which is where Goodwin and Pettis play. That role is generally designed to stretch the field and create space with deep routes. There’s a good chance coach Kyle Shanahan does some mixing and matching with Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Richie James to fill in the gaps.
The team promoted Steven Dunbar Jr. (6-3, 202) from the practice squad this week. Dunbar would be expected to play Garçon’s “Z” receiver role, which has typically been played by Bourne. And it would make sense to promote another wideout from the practice squad with just four healthy bodies on the 53-man roster. Max McCaffrey and Jordon Smallwood are options.
The 49ers will also be without tight end Garrett Celek, who suffered a concussion last week. Celek will finish his seventh season in San Francisco with just five catches for 90 yards, though he’s been a prominent as a blocker in the running game. No. 3 tight end Ross Dwelley is expected to replace Celek on Sunday. Rookie cornerback Tarvarius Moore is questionable with a shoulder injury. He would likely be replaced by Greg Mabin.
The Rams will be without start running back Todd Gurley due to a knee injury. He missed last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals and was replaced by C.J. Anderson, who ran for 167 yards and a touchdown.
Garoppolo update - The 49ers’ franchise quarterback was on the side field during the early portion of Friday’s practice, jumping backward and sideways as part of his rehab process with a member of the training staff. Garoppolo appeared to have bounce in his legs after having surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee. He wasn’t wearing a brace.
“There’s been no setbacks, which is good news,” Shanahan said. “He’s been around a ton in the meetings and everything. So we’ve been amping everything up along with that. ... He’s been around the guys a lot lately and he’s been eager in the meetings and stuff, which shows that he’s ready to get healthy and get back to good football.”
The 49ers have said Garoppolo is expected to return to football activities in May or June for offseason team activities, which points to a full return in time for the start of training camp in late July.
Shanahan open to Senior Bowl - Shanahan and his coaching staff might be asked to coach in the Senior Bowl next month in Mobile, Ala. Usually, the teams picking highest with returning coaching staffs are asked by the league to coach in the game.
“You have mixed emotions about (it), always as a coach,” Shanahan said. “But it’s something you never turn down. It’s an advantage for you. Any little thing helps if you can find out more about one guy, whether it affects a seventh-round pick or a free agent you go for. It’s always worth it. So that’s something, if that opportunity happens, we’ll do.”
Many top prospects in the draft are underclassmen who wouldn’t participate, including several pass rushers expected to go in the first round, such as Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell.
However, Kentucky star Josh Allen, a possible top-10 selection, has already accepted his invite. Same for possible first-round prospect Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech, who had 15 sacks this season.
Line coach rocks out - Friday is a day of tradition during the regular season. The team usually warms up to “Friday” by Sir Charles Jones. But the team switched it up for the season finale.
This week, offensive line coach John Benton brought his electric guitar to the practice field and started warmups by playing Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” He followed with ZZ Top’s “Tush,” which got a good reaction from the offensive line.